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Take a Look Inside Compton’s Favorite Secret Restaurant

Welcome to the Trap Kitchen

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

South LA has a long history of ingenuity when it comes to restaurants and food. There’s Keith Garrett selling tacos and quesadillas from a driveway in Watts, and chef Farid Zadi working with non-traditional North African dishes on Jefferson Boulevard. There’s also Trap Kitchen, an admittedly gang-affiliated underground restaurant that’s been taking Compton by storm.

You might have first heard of Trap Kitchen from Vice, who profiled chefs Malachi Jenkins and Roberto Arturo Smith back in January. Now Great Big Story is on the scene with an insider’s look at the whole operation, following the team as they shop, cook, and create their dishes from scratch. Along the way Jenkins talks about what he sees for the future of Trap Kitchen, and how everyone still assumes that it’s their grandmothers doing the cooking.